Adelaide based Tiff Manuell is a fashion designer by training, but upon completing her degree at Melbourne’s RMIT, she sidestepped a traditional fashion industry job, instead starting her own product design business at the age of 26. That brand, called ‘Happy House’, still operates, mainly selling Tiff’s designs internationally under license.
However, Tiff’s eponymous accessories range, pictured here, is a smaller operation, and very close to her heart.
‘The ‘Tiff’ range started because I felt a real need to get back to being creative everyday, and wanting to paint rather than illustrate and sit at a computer’ explains Tiff. ‘I wanted to make a handmade product rather than use a large production process’. After making her first clutch for a friend, the Tiff Manuell range quickly developed into a broad collection of one-off handpainted and hand stitched purses, clutches and tech cases.
by Lucy Feagins, The Design Files Editor
'I paint every day now which is the most amazing job. Job implies work, but it never really feels like work! The way the business has unfolded feels like it’s been a creative awakening, I just love making these products!’ – Tiff Manuell.
Each piece in Tiff’s range starts as an abstract canvas painting, which she then cuts into shape, and finally covers in a PVC sleeve to protect the painting and keep it clean. Tiff says the initial paintings are always very abstract and usually unplanned. ’I am passionate about colour, that is probably what drives my inspiration every day, I get a feel for colour combinations and then each piece goes from there’ explains Tiff. ‘I just absorb everything and then it pours out the brush’.
After running her previous business for many years, Tiff is still relishing the opportunity to be more creative and less strategic when working on her accessories range. ’I had no plans for this business, it is totally organic and I love that about it. It’s driving itself, and is also driven by the amazing followers and girls buying the product’ Tiff explains. ’I hope in the future to maybe see the bags feature in a few stores in my fave international cities so they are more available and I get to go visit!’